Seriously, is there a more underrated skincare brand than Olay?
While everyone is fussing over Nivea, which hasn’t updated its formulas in ages, Olay is relegated in the back-seat, left to wonder what the heck it must do to be more popular.
Isn’t the fact it was one of the first brands to use niacinamide enough? That it’s one of the few drugstore brands to make good glycolic acid-based exfoliants? That it usually puts more than one lonely antioxidants in its formulas?
If you’re on a budget and craving flawless skin, Olay is the drugstore friend to turn to. But, which products should you try first? And which ones avoid (because even the best brands get it wrong, sometimes)?
Here’s the flawless, just nice, and ugly (or best, average, and worst) Olay has to offer:
Pro X Anti-Aging Nightly Purifying Micro Peel ($44.99)
This is one of the most expensive of Olay’s offerings, but worth every penny. It contains a high amount of glycolic acid, which is my favourite exfoliating ingredient ever. Why? Because it doesn’t only get rid of dead skin cells. It also hydrates skin and promotes collagen production, which is essential to keep skin firm and elastic. Just don’t overdo it. A little exfoliation makes skin smoother, brighter, and even-toned. A lot turns it red and irritates it. On that note, this formula is infused with three soothing agents: allantoin, aloe vera, and calendula extract. Olay has really thought of everything. Available at Amazon.
Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment ($44.99)
This is a great option for acne sufferers. The jury is still out there on whether retinyl propionate, a form of vitamin A gentler than retinol, is effective against wrinkles. But, studies have shown it definitely helps with acne. So does niacinamide. That one helps fight wrinkles too. Add a pinch of antioxidants and peptides to prevent aging, and a dollop of dimethicone to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and you have a lovely anti-aging formula for breakout prone-skin. Available at Ulta.
Pro-X Even Skin Tone Spot Fading Cream ($44.99)
If you’re looking for a spot fading cream, look no further. This gem contains niacinamide and Olay-developed undecylenoyl phenylalanine, both of which have been proven to light dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide does a lot more though. It also hydrates and soothes skin, fights wrinkles, and helps treat acne. The lightweight formula is fragrance-free, making it an excellent option for all skin types, including sensitive. Available at Amazon.
Regenerist Micro Sculpting Serum Fragrance-Free ($15.79)
This serum doesn’t really sculpt skin. No serum can do that. But you already knew that, right? Still, this serum is very well-formulated. Like all the best Olay products, it contains niacinamide, which is an anti-aging multitasker everyone should add to their skincare routine as soon as possible. Then, there’s sodium hyaluronate, a humectant that can attract, and bind, to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water. To finish off, a sprinkle of antioxidants and peptides to help fight premature aging. This one doesn’t have a fragrance either, so everyone can use it, too. Available at Amazon.
Total Effects 7-In-1 Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Mature Skin Therapy ($21.99)
I am a big fan of the entire Total Effects line, but this one is my favorite. It contains glycerin to hydrate, coconut oil to lock in moisture, antioxidants vitamins C and E and green tea to fight the free radicals that cause premature aging, and niacinamide to brighten, smooth, and soothe skin. The brightening pigments in the formula also gives skin a lovely glow. All this for under $25.00. Isn’t that amazing? Available at Ulta.
Fresh Effects S’Wipe Out! Refreshing Make-Up Removal Cloths ($4.99)
Great for travelling, these makeup wipes quickly remove makeup, even the stubborn, waterproof kind. In a pinch, they’re very convenient. But, like all wipes, they’re no substitute for a proper makeup remover, so don’t use them on a daily basis. They also contain fragrance, which isn’t ideal to use around the eyes. Those peepers are sensitive. Available at Ulta.
Moisturizing Lotion Sensitive Skin ($17.98)
If your skin is prone to irritations, you may want to give this one a try. It’s low in antioxidants, which is why it’s in the “just nice” section, but it contains a bunch of anti-inflammatory ingredients, including aloe and chamomile, that can soothe skin. And niacinamide, which, if you haven’t got it yet, is a must-have for all skin types. Available at Amazon.
Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer Plus Touch Of Foundation SPF 15 ($15.75)
Glycerin, niacinamide, dimethicone, antioxidants, SPF… this cream would be a great way to moisturize, smoothen, and protect skin while evening out the skintone, all at the same time, if it weren’t for one small thing: it’s available in only one shade. If it doesn’t match your skin tone exactly, you’ll look like you’re wearing a mask. I’m guessing that’s not what you want? Available at Amazon.
Fresh Effects Shine, Shine Go Away! Shine Minimizing Cleanser ($10.40)
There is a good and a bad way to minimize shine. The good way: oil-absorbing clays and exfoliating, pore-unclogger salicylic acid. The bad one: drying alcohols and soaps that turn it into the Sarah. Sadly, this cleanser uses the latter approach. It contains a high amount of potassium hydroxide (lye), one of the most common ingredients in bar soaps (and the reason why you shouldn’t use those either). It cleanses skin, indeed, but makes it so dry, it’ll soon compensate by producing even more oil! The very last thing you want.
Oil-Minimizing Toner ($4.99)
I stopped using toners a long time ago. Why? Because most of them only dry and irritate skin, and provide no benefit at all. Sadly, this is a great example a crappy toner. It contains drying alcohol AND irritating witch hazel AND irritating menthol, AND little else. It can potentially cause a lot of problems, but solves none at all. What a pointless product!
Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil Daily Treatment ($25.99)
Facial oils are all the rage now, and I was hoping Olay would show other brands how they’re done. But, nope. It failed miserably. This formula is full of problematic oils – such as spearmint, tangerine, lemon, and orange – that can irritate skin and make it more prone to sun damage. As much as I love anything citrusy, I’ll leave this one on the shelf (and hope you do too). *sighs*
Are you a fan of Olay too? What are your favourite, and least favourite, products from the brand?